Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord explains what it means to become a disciple. Once we make the decision to follow Jesus, then every other claimant to supremacy must fall away. Every one of us has something that we consider greatest. Perhaps it is money, material things, power, the esteem of others, your country, your political party, or your ethnic identity. Or perhaps it is your family, your kids, your wife, your husband.
Now mind you, all of these are good things. However, when you place any of them in the absolute center of gravity, things go awry. When you make any of them your ultimate or final good, your spiritual life goes haywire. When you attach yourself to any of them with an absolute tenacity, you will fall apart.
This is what Jesus means in our Gospel for today: not that you should hate your family or country or wealth, but rather that you should detach yourself from them lest they become idols. And only if we do this are we truly ready for mission. If we try to do this work while we are stuck to any number of attachments, we will fail. Period.